Nice If You Can Get It


If there’s a way to implement a policy in a corrupt manner, it seem like Illinois will do it. Tuition too high at public colleges? Illinois has a solution. From Stacy St. Clair and John Chase in the Chicago Tribune comes news that,

Year after year, state Rep. Robert Molaro doled out publicly funded scholarships to the family of a longtime political supporter, ultimately giving the four children more than $94,000 in tuition.

Intended to give Illinois legislators a chance to ease the financial burden of a few college-bound constituents, the program instead has sent money to insiders. The Bruno family example also raises new questions about loose enforcement of eligibility requirements.

Apparently Illinois has something called the General Assembly Scholarship program, which allows every member of the General Assembly to essentially give free college to two students every year. The students must live in the member’s district and attend a state-supported Illinois college.

None of the beneficiaries of Molaro’s largess actually lived in his district.

Molaro’s apparently not the only one using the scholarship creatively. One Republican state senator gave the daughter of a donor free medical school at one state university. One Democrat gave the wife of a lobbyist a year of free tuition at another school.

In March, Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn vetoed a bill to limit the General Assembly Scholarship, saying: “We’ve just had episode after episode of Democrats and Republicans of abuse of this area. It’s time to call a halt to the abuse.” Quinn wants to abolish the scholarship entirely. [Image via]

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer